Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Odds and Ends on the N.Y.C.T.L.

Greetings All,

As previously reported train operations on the layout and virtual operations with friends have spawned a list of projects and scheduled improvements on the N.Y.C.T.L. Some will be slow to implement and others have begun. Working around cold and rainy weather which shut down my outdoor spray booth I worked on some odds and ends type projects on the layout. Some turned out well and can be checked off the to-do list and others are just kind of in the experimental stage and just roughed in.

First up I broke down and purchased the Doc O'Brien's Weathering Powders from Micro Mark. I have been wanting to get into the weathering of my rolling stock and motive power for quite some time but have been very hesitant to do so. I finally took the plunge. I experimented on a few cars with what I think are decent results for a first time effort.

RBOX 34593 is from Accurail and was part of a three car set I bought a long time ago. I was disappointed in the cars from the beginning as the body is yellow plastic with the lettering applied directly to that. First issue was the car glowed under the lights. Second it never looked right, especially next to cars with painted shells. All the cars were dull coated as is my practice but they still did not look right. I did paint the insides of these cars flat black to eliminate the radioactive look. I gave this one a dry brushing of burnt umber a while back and then followed that up with the weathering powders. Better but still needs some work.

Left to right weathered RBOX 34593,  not weathered Accurail RBOX 34685
and a not weathered Athearn BB RBOX 11065 

A wood sided Reading RR  reefer from Model Power. I believe this on one of those 10 freight cars for $12.00 deals from Standard Hobby Supply in New Jersey. It's languished in a box for many a year. Warped trucks, erratic running and frequently bumped by better running and looking rolling stock. Trucks have been replaced as were the wheels and body mounted knuckle couplers have been added. A brushing of some green, brown and white powder has this car looking much better, 

Two New Haven 40' box cars from Athearn have been renumbered. A brushing of brown and white powder has produced some subtle weathering.

Second project I wanted to address was the entry into Terminal Yard. Originally conceived as basically a hidden staging / fiddle yard it has grown out of that designation with the increased operations with Engineer Ed and the Virtual Ops with PC Ralph.

An empty hopper train arrives from the Kings Port Division. All City Storage has been borrowed from the layout and posed here for the shot. Some scrap MDF pieces block the train boxes on the left.

A gift from Engineer Ed was Model Train Software.  I recently designed and printed some building flats from the software and am quite pleased with the results. 
This is a work in progress but better than blank walls and / or boxes. 

A lot of potential here. 

Using the Model Train Software I designed and printed out these flats for my Empire City Post Office

Again a lot of potential

As I gain experience these efforts should get better and better. 

 Another layout area long neglected was this curve on the back end. While not Emery Gulash's Telegraph Curve it has real good picture potential. Adding in sidewalks, fauna and flora,
 and a road have given the scene some life. The little freight house in the rear right of the photo was also painted recently

Truck traffic into Water Street Freight Terminal and some rail fans under police supervision give this neglected area a new life. Looking closely it looks like 1/87th scale Engineer Ed has taken his Mrs for a leisurely drive in their 1955 Chevy. I wouldn't be surprised if that's 1/87th scale Sir Neal Himself and PC Ralph standing on the corner across the street.

Next issue to address was the Ford Plant. Can't make cars without steel! With the Ford Plant operations continuing to evolve I needed a place to receive and unload coil steel cars like these breadbox trough cars. This siding can handle two cars at a time which will work well for the tight space. Work continues...

Running ops sessions and enjoying virtual ops sessions requires rolling stock and motive power in good working order. I've been slowly getting the whole roster into the action. Right now about 98% of the fleet can be included in either ops or virtual ops sessions. That said, I just read John Bruce's most recent blog entry titled Vintage. I am going to start referring to John as the Train Doctor due to his expertise in taking the old, worn and weary rolling stock of the hobby and giving it new life. See here for his recent entry:  http://modelrrmisc.blogspot.com/2016/02/vintage.html

After reading John's entry I thought I'd introduce these Varney hopper cars from 1961. I picked these cars up for a dollar from a former LHS that had a huge closeout of used inventory about 8 years ago. Both have been upgraded with knuckle couplers and the Virginian car has received new trucks and P-2000 metal wheels. The coal load in the C&O car is stamped Varney 1959.

1961 graduates from Varney Manufacturing. These cars were included in the unit hopper train in photo #6. Nothing wrong here with using rolling stock 55 years of age!

That's it for now. Thanks for reading!! 


  1. I don't claim to have a doctorate, in model trains or anything else! My dad was always disappointed that I didn't get one in anything, as he always thought people should call me Dr Bruce, but I'm afraid that was because he admired stuffed shirts. But those Varney cars are really good. Allen McClelland used a lot of them on the V&O. I should post on some of the ones I've redone, too. But you can clearly see on that Reading reefer what just a little work will do on some cheapo items. Congratulations!

    1. John' you've certainly earned an honorary degree in trainology! Thanks for the compliments. Look forward to seeing some more of your vintage over hauls including the Varney hoppers.

  2. Lots going on at the N.Y.C.T.L.! The paper buildings have some pretty impressive details and nicely enhance the Terminal Yard area. Nice bit of imagineering with the coil unloading structure. There does need to be some was of getting those heavy coils out of those trough cars! I'm impressed with the efforts both of you guys took to renovate old rolling stock. I've done a little of that but certainly not as much as you two.

    1. Thanks Ralph, With the virtual ops I was running out of decent photo locations! "Imagineering" is a perfect description of the coil steel unloader. You're latest project with your PC cars will be a great blog entry and shows what can be achieved with older models as well. I'm looking forward to seeing it posted!

  3. There's a new video that shows a very recent addition to Sellios's F&SM whdre he seems to have used mostly building flats. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FP0P7S57uhI I can see a lot of King Mill flats (King Mill now gone, unfortunately). Similar flats are available from Trackside Scenery http://www.tracksidescenery.com/index.php?id_category=18&controller=category

    1. Hi John, Thanks for both links! The newest F&SM video is very inspiring and Trackside Scenery looks to be a good resource. Much Appreciated!